Review: Johannesburg private investigator Jade de Jong takes on an assignment of protecting a wealthy woman after her husband disappears one night — presumably not of his own free will — in Stolen Lives, the second mystery in this series by Jassy Mackenzie.
Pamela Jordaan fears for her life when her husband Terence goes missing, and hires Jade to protect her until he can be found. She is also concerned for her adult daughter, Tamsin, who … coincidentally? … has also disappeared. In Jo'burg, where the very rich spend heavily for personal safety, this has all the markings of a simple security detail. But minutes after accepting a retainer and while accompanying her new client back to her home, Jade and Pamela are shot at by a passing motorcyclist. Securing Pamela in a hotel, Jade proceeds to the Jordaan estate only to find the murdered body of a woman — not Tamsin — in the house, and the brutally tortured, but still alive, body of Terence near the backyard barbecue pit. A simple case this is not, and it seems Pamela does have cause to be fearful. Still, Jade can't shake the notion that something isn't quite right here. "Oddly enough," she muses, "Pamela had seemed more scared before the shooting than she was afterwards."
Stolen Lives is a solidly crafted sequel to the fine first book in this series, however it is a little overplotted. Though most of the action takes place in Johannesburg, a separately developed subplot set in England, and later Cyprus, provides a backstory to events as they unfold in South Africa. Jade is almost constantly on the move, which in no small part helps keep the plot moving briskly forward, though she does take time out to ponder her conflicted relationship with the still married police superintendant David Patel, whose son Kevin is kidnapped as part of another related subplot. In a discussion with David towards the end, Jade realizes that "[e]verything was connected. Pamela's missing daughter, Terence's torture, Kevin's kidnapping, and the fugitives [from England] who had fled to South Africa and were trying to evade the police. The four different cases were one." From strong characters and an exotic setting to intricately devised investigations, this is a PI series definitely worth following.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Stolen Lives for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569476291; ISBN-10: 1569476292
Soho Crime (Hardcover), April 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616950651; ISBN-10: 161695065X
Location(s) referenced in Stolen Lives: Johannesburg, South Africa
— ♦ —
Stolen Lives by Jassy Mackenzie — A Jade de Jong Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: April 2011
List Price: $25.00